Tag Archives: relationships

The Husband’s Secret (2013 Berkley) by Liane Moriarty

While looking in the attic for something, Cecilia finds a letter from her husband to be opened upon his death. Her life becomes intertwined with the secretary of the school who lost her daughter to murder 30 years and a young mom who separated from her husband and came home to care for her mother with a broken ankle. Cecilia discovers the limits of her endurance and her loyalty to her family.

Moriarty intricately weaves stories and lives together with conscientious telling details. I love the different perspectives of all the characters, how much more complex they are then they seem. Though Cecilia is the main character, the other two women are just as relevant to the story, and even minor characters are developed enough to envision. The big secret is not held until the end from the reader, yet Moriarty continues building tension until the final revelation.

I suspect Agatha Christie fans would like Moriarty’s work. Readers who love mysteries, the complexity of small town relationships, and familial nuances will appreciate this story.

What Alice Forget (2010 PanMacMillan Australia) by Liane Moriarty

Alice wakes from a daydream of the beach to a painful head in an unfamiliar gym, with a colleague peering down at her. She fell off her bike in spin class and misplaced the last decade in her brain. Current events are not so current, and Alice learns some astonishing facts about the world and popular culture. Over the following week, she discovers some harsh truths about that decade from family, friends, and neighbors. As she slowly gains insight into her own life and troubled relations with her loved ones, the soul searching begins. When the memories hit all at once, Alice is stunned and reasserts herself as she merges her 29-year-old self with her 39-year old self.

Now this is how you open a novel! Moriarty begins the story with Alice floating in a pool, listening to a man playing Marco Polo with kids, knowing that the someone next to her with toenails painted different colors like her own is a person she loves. As the dreamlike sequence morphs into a painfully realistic nightmare of Alice’s confusion at finding herself in a gym, where she would never expect to be, the reader is pulled into the confusion and learns the truths as Alice learns them. Brilliant! Along with the facts presented to the memory-challenged Alice, secrets are unveiled, strengthening relationships and urging everyone forward toward positive opportunities.

Readers who wish to be invested deeply in the main character’s life will love this book. If you are fond of secrets, humorous references to current (and not so current) events, and gut-wrenching situations, this book is for you. Moriarty will have you laughing and crying out loud!

Seven Days of Us (2017 Berkley) by Francesca Hornak

A young doctor assisting in the Haag virus epidemic in Liberia brings home to her British nuclear family (mom, dad, sister) a week quarantine in their country home for Christmas. Secrets burst forth in the form of quarantine gatecrashers, long repressed feelings, and past indiscretions, transforming alliances and long-held opinions. Ultimately, they are closer after a life-changing event in the home.

I was thrilled to receive this book through a Read It Forward giveaway, because I otherwise might not have read this wonderful story. This is a superbly written novel, with the only niggle being the chapter headings of intimately specific locations within the house and times given to the minute, which caused me a few times to return to the front of the chapter just to re-read the heading.

I appreciate the well-roundedness of the author’s points of views in developing true-to-life characters who interacted in the gray areas of class and social mores in order to relate to each other and grow as individuals to better understand each other on a deeper level. Hornak shows the evolution of all the characters, from the seemingly selfless doctor working in a developing country, who shows contempt for her family, to her younger sister, who is forced to see her own selfishness in order to grow. She also brings us a lovely vision of a blended family, which is one secret I shan’t spoil.

Readers who love complex characters who evoke emotional responses, and storylines that reach deeper into concepts that challenge us, will likely fall in love with this novel as I did. The first person to share my review on Twitter or Facebook and tag me will get my copy! After reading, please give it away again. Thank you!

Left to Chance (2017 St. Martin’s Griffin) by Amy Sue Nathan

I was, and still am, honestly, delighted to win this giveaway from my favorite publisher St. Martin’s Press by a Tall Poppy author. If you don’t know Tall Poppies, search for their group on Facebook. It’s called Bloom.

The story was a bit slow for me at first, as the MC Teddi finds a brick wall of friends upon her return to her hometown. It picked up pace tremendously and completely sucked me in when Teddi learned that information was being kept from her about a family she had considered herself a part of still despite her disappearance. Seems everyone has a hidden agenda for this prodigal daughter come home at the request of her late friend’s daughter to photograph her father’s wedding, and this includes the late friend’s daughter.

Nathan elicits emotion from dear reader, offering evidence for empathizing with each character, all of whom are well developed, credible, and complex. The secrets are breathtaking, lovely twists to the tale. There are no absolutes in this story, refreshing especially for the complicated romances.

Readers who appreciate an intricately braided storyline and heartening relationships will likely be pleased with this novel. The first person to share this review on Facebook or Twitter and tag me will receive my copy of this book.